Over the past few weeks I have been holding one-on-one conversations with a number of senior business leaders as part of some research I am doing to support some writing I have planned. So far I have conducted just shy of 20 of these interviews and in well over half I found myself making notes about a communication myth that I thought had long ago been put to rest. But no, they live on!
I decided to share a few today and will add more in the future. Somehow we have to make these myths disappear. Please, if you know of other myths that need to be stepped on, take a moment to add below.
Oh, and one more request – let people know about the need to step on these….maybe, just maybe we can get the train headed down the right path.
Here we go….
Employees are not really interested in information beyond their daily tasks. A survey on employee job satisfaction found employees ranked “feeling in on things” as tops in job satisfaction (salary rated seventh). In fact every survey out there seems to arrive at this conclusion. We all have an innate desire to be a part of something larger than ourselves and make a contribution to a greater whole.
Employees are overloaded and don’t want more information. Employees want the opportunity to decide what they will read and listen to and what they won’t. The internet changed the way we see and share information. Advances in social media technologies have taken whatever internets did and multiplied the outcome exponentially. Most of us are pretty adept at getting what we need – when we need it. It’s all out there. It’s de-motivating to operate in a world where you have access to all the information you need to make decisions effectively, except at work. Give them access to the information and let them decide.
Employees are not partners in the business they only work for a salary. If they are not, they should be. Employees who understand the broader context are far more likely to be engaged. Research from Gallup, Bain Consulting and the US Department of Labour show that those companies with a fully engaged workforce:
- are 56% more likely to create higher customer loyalty
- achieve a 5% improvement in customer retention = 25% to 95% profit increase
- earn $27K (US) more in sales / employee
- have a market value increase of $18K (US) per employee
- are 50% more likely to have lower turnover.
Sensitive information is reserved for senior leaders. Sometimes where there are legal constraints this may be true. But for the most part much of the information on the boardroom table can, and must be, shared with employees. And certainly all “contextual” information can be shared. In fact it should not only be shared, it needs to be discussed in meaningful ways. By inviting employees to the boardroom table we make them partners in our business, and consequently, far more committed to their individual roles and the company at large.
Information is a powerful tool for individuals – the power is diluted when shared with groups. Information that is not shared is potentially lost. Shared information means considerable more brainpower gets applied to an issue and the power of the group, rather than a single individual, increases. Technological solutions can be put in place to allow employees to better communicate and collaborate with one another, such as intranets and extranets – learn more here.
If you want to learn more about global communication in the world of business, the University of Southern California has some detailed information on the topic.
What other internal communication myths can you think of that need to go?